Realignments in religion and health practices: an Approach to the ‘New Religions' in Taiwanese Society

Abstract : The ways in which religious beliefs are being revised show the assimilation of health practices into religion. This article focuses on qigong health practices. An ethnological approach of “new religions” (xinxing zongjiao—literally “emerging religious movements”) provides a contribution to the study of how these religious forms are being restructured. My choice of the “new religions”, rather than any other religious formations, is because for the last 20 years they have been developing continuously both in terms of the number of their numbers and sympathisers and in terms of the socio-political challenge which they pose. Among these ‘new religions', the Teaching of the Heavenly Emperor (Tiandi jiao) throws light onto the incorporation of health practices into the very heart of religious practice. This article is concerned with three main themes. Firstly, the characteristics of qigong health practices are briefly set out; secondly, the “new religions” are defined in contrast with popular religion, and their relationships to the ongoing changes in Taiwanese society; thirdly I examine the incorporation of health practices into religion, more specifically the practice of qigong in the context of the “new religious”, by taking the example of the Tianren qigong—qigong health practices of the Tiandi jiao group.
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Evelyne Micollier. Realignments in religion and health practices: an Approach to the ‘New Religions' in Taiwanese Society. China perspectives, Hong Kong : French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, 1998, pp.34-40. ⟨ird-00448883⟩

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